So, what does the rejection by the NHL of Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils mean? And, what happens next?
The best full explanation I have seen thus far comes from Craig Sustance of The Sporting News.
Here is a snippet.
Part of the problem for the NHL is whether Kovalchuk will play through the full length of the contract. He would be 44 when the pact expired.
There also is a crucial time element to the Kovalchuk case. Every day he fights for this deal means one less day on the open market as an unrestricted free agent. The Los Angeles Kings have indicated they might still be interested, but the Kovalchuk market could dry up if the fight drags out.
Somewhere there’s a balance between what’s best for the union and best for Kovalchuk. But these long-term deals are contracts players want the right to negotiate. Mark Guy represents a number of young NHL stars who will be watching this closely, including Drew Doughty, Steven Stamkos and Bobby Ryan.
Hey, at least this whole mess is bringing the spotlight to hockey during the middle of the summer. That has to be of some help, right?